Going to the edges for inspiration

now network pepsi

now network pepsi
 

Jacky Parsons, our Director of Research, spoke on one of our favourite topics at this year’s ESOMAR conference in Nice: extreme consumers. The conference is an annual get-together for members of the market research industry and this year’s theme was ‘inspiration’. At Sense, we find talking to extreme users incredibly inspiring. Nick Graham, our PepsiCo client, joined Jacky on stage to talk about the extremely creative members of the Pepsi Now Network, managed by Sense, who are having such a big influence at corporate HQ.

Going to the edges for inspiration
Together with our friends at PepsiCo Global Beverage Group, we wrote a paper on the value of speaking to extreme consumers.  Click here to download the full paper.

In the paper, we show how people with more intense and unusual experiences, attitudes and backgrounds – who we call extreme consumers – can unlock insights that transform the work of marketing and innovation teams, even if your target audience is mainstream.

We describe three types of extreme consumer:

1. The Lover vs the Rejector
This type sits at either extreme of the usage spectrum of your brand or category. Extreme Users have a much higher than average usage profile – in terms of frequency or quantity. Rejectors on the other hand are lapsed users or non-users who have chosen not to engage with your brand.

2. Experts
Don’t think of academics when you read the term ‘expert’. This kind of extreme user has expertise relevant to your brand or category because of the role they play in life, but it’s a lateral connection. So for example, a soldier can be an expert in blisters.

3. Leading-edge Creatives
These people are extreme in terms of their cultural engagement and creativity, and their lifestyles. This is the type of ‘extreme consumer’ we have involved in the Pepsi Now Network during 2014. They’re the opposite of a conventional research panel – they’re muses who guide internal teams and shape the thinking of external creative agencies.

As Anna Peters reported on the Esomar site: ‘For Nick Graham (PepsiCo USA) this has been the first time in his career where “agencies have been begging him” to speak to consumers. In short, this approach has resulted in an organisational shift – where the function of Market Research has been repositioned from reporting findings, to inspiring solutions.’

The Pepsi Now Network demonstrates that the value of any approach involving extreme users goes beyond the commercial benefits to the business – it makes a qualitative difference for everyone involved in the journey. The research process becomes more interesting and rewarding for everyone involved, whether they are participants, recruiters, agency teams or client teams – as a genuine human connection is forged between people and fresh insights are discovered. And that’s what inspires us, as much as the new ideas ignited by the interactions.

Featured Senser: Meet Sina From Berlin

featured_senser_sina

featured_senser_sina
 

The Sense Network is our global community of smart and articulate individuals that share their collective wisdom to help make things better and make better things. The Sensers (as we call them) are our eyes and ears on the ground, always scouting out the latest trends, able to bring fresh views when collaborating on projects. Every couple of weeks we have a new ‘Featured Senser’ which is our way of showcasing some of the high calibre members with unique interests and passions. This week we’ve been catching up with Sina from Berlin.

Hey Sina, please tell us a bit about yourself…

Hi! I’m Sina, a Senser in Berlin, the ever changing capital of Germany. I like to be involved in different projects of all kinds. At the moment there are 4 main things I’m working on:

1. I am introducing the concept of Human Resources to Blinkist, a start-up company based in Berlin. They have successfully emerged from the “Hey I’ve got a cool Idea let’s try it out” – phase and are transforming into a proper business, with a substantial amount of employees. I – as their first employee in this field – am helping them professionalize their structure.

2. I am still involved in psychological research with my former University, working on publishing articles with my colleagues there.

3. I built a personal website where I give online tuition (http://psychologie-aufnahmetest.de) for those preparing for entrance examinations.

4. Even though I tuned it down a bit, I still organise some events and work as a DJ here and there.

What do you find most inspiring about your city? And what would you recommend a visitor should see or do?
I’ll try to bring up a point that you have not heard already, as Berlin is a hot topic in small-talk all around the globe. One thing that separates Berlin from other hip cities like Barcelona / London / New York etc. is it’s unique relation to space. In the beginning of the 20th century, Berlin was meant to hold a maximum of 6 million people. Because of the second world war and it’s isolation during the cold war, Berlin now actually holds less inhabitants than it was built to accommodate! This is absolutely unique. Despite the huge growth in numbers during the large decades, this fact leads to Berlin still holding open spaces, unused territories and (comparatively) low rents. In my opinion, this single fact is responsible for creating the room for opportunity, flexibility, craziness and venture that made Berlin what it is today. In Berlin, you can find an unused room somewhere for a really low rent, set up some tables and call it a Club. It might work, it might fail, but there’s not much to lose, you don’t need to invest much. This drives innovation.

Are there any trends, cultural shifts or movements emerging in Berlin right now that really excite you?
The Berlin start-up scene is very vibrant in Berlin, I am particularly interested in how this sector develops. Will the next European Facebook / Google / Twitter emerge here?

What do you think the major changes in Berlin will be in the next 5 years?
The biggest challenge is coping with all the people moving into the city. Will Berlin become a void, colourless, mainstream and student-oriented place or will it keep it’s quirky and very diverse identity?

Which brand would you most like to have an influence on and how would you like them to change?
Probably the FIFA and UEFA. Ever since I read “how they stole the game” (I have some substantial criticism with the book itself too) I developed a deep disgust with these organisations and if I could choose, I would transform them. They have no interest at all in change though. Speaking of product-based brands: I’d kind of like to change the way almost any given traditional company (as in companies that exist for more than 10 years) speaks to their sub-30 year old customers. They have a horrible, horrible intuition of how to communicate with them.

If you could improve just one thing in the world what would it be?
Transparency where it is appropriate. In private, in public, in economics. In the right places, it’s the antidote to a lot of problems.

Featured Senser: Meet Suki From Mumbai

Suki From Mumbai Sense Network

Suki From Mumbai Sense Network

The Sense Network is our global community of smart and articulate individuals that share their collective wisdom to help make things better and make better things. The Sensers (as we call them) are our eyes and ears on the ground, always scouting out the latest trends, able to bring fresh views when collaborating on projects. Every couple of weeks we have a new ‘Featured Senser’ which is our way of showcasing some of the high calibre members with unique interests and passions. This week we’ve been catching up with Suki from Mumbai. 

Hi Suki, please tell us a bit about yourself…

I am super family oriented, a very proud, British Punjabi living in the heart of Bollywood in Mumbai. This year I started telling people that I am a farmer – they look at me as if to say ‘you don’t look like a farmer’ to which I laugh because I believe that in some way we all are. To put it simply I plant seeds and watch them grow, nurture and nourish.

What do you find most inspiring about your city? And what would you recommend that a visitor to Mumbai should see or do while they’re there?

I am most inspired by people in the City of Mumbai because they are true survivors of what is quite a hard place to be in. There is a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. Imagine 20 million dreams combusted in one hotspot. The energy is fierce. Mumbai is called the ‘City of dreams’ for a reason. I recommend people visit the Dhobi Ghat (the open air laundry) for a visual perspective of operations in Mumbai and how it is the ‘make it happen’ city, you don’t need to go on an inside tour, just take a look from the bridge and have a photo moment.

Photo of ‘Dhobi Ghat’ taken by Suki Dusanj
Photo of ‘Dhobi Ghat’ taken by Suki Dusanj

A must is to experience Juhu beach at sunset, go for a walk around that area. Go see some live music in the city, there is everything from Sufi, Bollywood and an incredible Indie scene, visit the Mehboob studios for a live event if there is something on and if you’re lucky maybe even stumble across a bollywood film shoot. For that luxury feeling a must is a tea at the Taj Hotel, Sea Lounge in Colaba. You have to take a dirty yellow and black cab or ‘auto’ ride at some point, they are surreal.

Photo of an ‘Auto’ thanks to Suki Dusanj
Photo of an ‘Auto’ thanks to Suki Dusanj

Are there any trends, cultural shifts or movements emerging in Mumbai right now that really excite you?

I am most inspired by people in the City of Mumbai because they are true survivors of what is quite a hard place to be in. There is a lot of bureaucracy and red tape. Imagine 20 million dreams combusted in one hotspot. The energy is fierce. Mumbai is called the ‘City of dreams’ for a reason. I recommend people visit the Dhobi Ghat (the open air laundry) for a visual perspective of operations in Mumbai and how it is the ‘make it happen’ city, you don’t need to go on an inside tour, just take a look from the bridge and have a photo moment.

Tell us a bit about your experience of being involved in a Sense Worldwide project. 

I was a cultural reporter for Nike on behalf of Sense Worldwide. This was like a dream job for me for I got to talk about experiences that I was having around the City. I am always sharing information with people so what better way to do it than reporting in an official capacity. I presented some innovative events and experiences that were happening in the city and I was armed with a very talented videographer.

To read Suki’s full interview visit The Sense Network. You can also see our previous Featured Senser, Carla from Rio here. Want to be our next featured senser? Sign up to The Sense Network and tell us all about yourself.